News in brief – 18 March

Scots ICA expulsion

The Scottish ICA has expelled an Aberdeen-based sole practitioner, after finding him guilty of professional misconduct. Alan Young, a chartered accountant, was found guilty of professional misconduct by an earlier inquiry for acting as an auditor for a client company, Credo Scotland, for the financial year ended 28 February 1995 when he did not possess registered auditor status. The institute has granted an interim order suspending Young from investigation until it concludes its disciplinary investigation.

FSB attack on IASB Federal Accounting Standards Board chairman Ed Jenkins launched an attack on the International Accounting Standards Board’s reform proposals this week. As members of the IASC prepared to meet in Washington DC for an open council meeting, Jenkins said: ‘While we agree with the IASC’s objectives of working toward a single set of high-quality accounting standards, we don’t believe that the proposed new structure will accomplish that goal.’

Police need wide audit Police stations need a nationwide audit to determine how to rationalise resources and make annual savings of #6m, the Audit Commission said yesterday. A report investigating the management of the police estate has revealed that the 7,000 properties, worth at least #2.6bn, cannot cater properly for new technology and current working practices. Surplus space worth #110m has not yet been sold.

College in finance strife A National Audit Office investigation of Gwent Tertiary College revealed that it had run into financial difficulties and made an operating deficit of #6.8m in 1996/1997. The NAO blamed a poor management restructuring exercise and inadequate financial information.

FD #0.5m windfall Rail regulators have given the green light to construction company John Laing’s plans to increase its share of Chiltern Railways’ holding company, M40 Trains, from 26% to 84%. The deal ensures Chiltern finance director Tony Allen will receive a #0.5m pre-tax windfall. Chiltern is the last of the privatisation management buy-outs to be sold on.

MPs pension reform call Stronger protection against seizure in cases of personal bankruptcy for less formal pension arrangements is being urged in a report from the Commons Social Security Committee. MPs have recommended rights for divorced former wives which provide the same degree of protection to all kinds of pension provision.

Paper on double tax The Inland Revenue has published a discussion paper on the #5bn in double taxation relief offered to British companies. Britain has more than 100 double-tax agreements with other countries.

Web discount on tax return The government is proposing to offer discounts to businesses that file tax returns electronically. The online facility, announced by the chancellor in last week’s Budget, will be available for self-assessment returns from next year. Customs & Excise said 700 companies are already using its pilot website to lodge their monthly Intrastat reports.

PAC slams FAMIS The Commons Public Accounts Committee has slammed the introduction of the computerised FAMIS system for the Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils, which cost almost double the original #544,000 contract fee.The new head of the council Albert Westwood confirmed there was still the possibility of litigation against supplier Coopers & Lybrand, hardware producer Data General, and software creator Oracle, but said it now worked properly.

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